Department of Energy Says ANWR Oil Would Have Little Impact

&copy Roddy Scheer

According to an analysis released last week by the Department of Energy (DOE), opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil development would only slightly reduce America"s dependence on imports and would lower oil prices by less than 50 cents a barrel.

The report, issued by DOE’s Energy Information Administration, said that if Congress gave the go-ahead to pump oil from Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the crude could begin flowing by 2013 and reach a peak of 876,000 barrels a day by 2025.

But even at peak production, according to the EIA analysis, the United States would still need to import 66 percent of its oil, as opposed to an expected 70 percent if the refuge’s oil remained off the market.

At the same time, the report says new Alaska production would stem the expected dramatic decline in domestic production and extend the economic life of the Alaska oil pipeline as production from other North Slope areas declines significantly.

But even the additional domestic production would not be enough to overcome increased demand, meaning continued heavy reliance on imports, the EIA says. Currently, the United States imports about 56 percent of the oil it consumes.